Interviews News — 12 January 2012

Kabuki Interview (Club Sessions)

Kabuki – Bio

“Kabuki aka Jan Hennig is one of the elder statesmen of Continental European Drum & Bass.

Together with his partner Mainframe aka Frank Marheineke he released under many monikers, most notable as Makai and MK2. Makai put out two singles on the well-respected english label “No U-Turn” in 1997, and shortly after that Makai´s first album named “Millenium” was released via the major EMI.

Due to the success of this long player, Kabuki toured through Japan for the first time in 1998. This proved to be valuable, because during this visit he was offered to work as a sound designer for Sony Playstation; Kabuki travelled the axis Frankfurt-Tokyo for the following decade.

Kabuki is not only known in Dru m& Bass circles, but also for crossing over genre borders. By collaborating with world-class vocalists such as Vikter Duplaix or Cleveland Watkiss, by releasing on labels like Reinforced or Liquid V and also by doing remixes for artists like Ennio Morricone or Rocker´s Hi-Fi, Kabuki and Mainframe were able to showcase the full range of their musical spectrum.

In 2004 Kabuki released his solo debut entitled “Signal to Noise” on the German indie Combination Records that showcased both past and present work from Broken Beats to Drum & Bass.

Bryan G picked Kabuki to become an official member of the Liquid V camp In 2006, where he has released singles and various tracks for compilations.

Since then Kabuki represents Liquid V at many events like the “Liquid V Club Sessions” launch at the Ministry Of Sound in London, the Movement night at the Bar Rumba. Kabuki has also been a frequent guest on the “Sound Of Movment” show on Ministry of Sound Radio.

Due to a collaboration on the album “For My Lost Friends”, Jenna G. and Kabuki teamed up as a DJ/MC-duo, and the two of them are now making a name for themselves through their unique performances.

In 2010 Kabuki’s second solo LP called “Warrior Soul” hit the shops, which featured collaborations with legends like Tikiman aka Paul St. Hilaire, Jeru the Damaja and Jenna G.”

Kabuki Interview: Club Sessions

The latest installment of Liquid V’s critically acclaimed Club Sessions series has been compiled by none other than DNB heavyweight Kabuki and will be released early next week on January 16th. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the German bred DJ/Producer and chat about Liquid V, upcoming releases and his thoughts on the state drum & bass – past, present and future. How did you first start working with Liquid V?

Kabuki: I started talking to Bryan (Gee) on AIM in 2004 when I was still living in Japan. During that time I produced the track “Look of Love” together with Makoto at his Tokyo studio, and that number somehow caught Bryan’s ear. After putting out several tracks and singles on Liquid V, my album “Warrior Soul” was released on V Recordings in 2011. Selecting tracks for a compilation can be difficult with the amount of music being produced. How did you go about choosing the tracks for Liquid V’s Club Sessions Volume 4?

Kabuki: Liquid V is really the brainchild of Bryan, so all the tracks that are on this compilation had to pass his quality control in the first place. Due to Bryan’s status he’s got access to everybody’s beats, and it was great for me to be able to tap into this resource.  Compared to it’s inception in the early 2000’s, what is your opinion on the current Liquid Drum and Bass sound?

Kabuki: I think it’s hard to say if there ever was a “uniform” Liquid D&B style. You have the deep rollers that Fabio put out on Creative Source, the high octane sound that Hospital stands for, or the rare grooves that were introduced by Calibre. The common denominator seems to be that there’s something apart from the beats and the bass that makes these tracks memorable. For me the spiritual vibe of sampling is what draws me back to this particular style of D&B. After all, by using samples you somehow connect to another place and time. What are some of the standout tracks on Club Sessions volume 4?

Kabuki: As a DJ I have a soft spot for deep, minimal rollers and there are plenty of those on the latest Club Sessions compilation. My current favorites are “No Time VIP” by Level 2 and “Seduction” by dRamatic & DBaudio. After releasing music for over 10 years, how do you keep things exciting in the studio and what inspires you to come up with new ideas?

Kabuki: I guess it helps that even after all these years I never stopped being a music lover myself. There’s nothing like finding new music that makes your hairs stand on end. I collect records from the 60s sand 70s, and consider this as part of my musical education. Trying to understand the relationships of these records based on their era, players or recording studios is a deep subject matter. Do you have a favorite place to tour/DJ?

Kabuki: I must say that I really enjoy playing in Eastern Europe, and I met a lot of nice people there. If I could pick any destination to visit then it would be Israel and Palestine. For me the greatest privilege of being a traveling musician is seeing things that are off-limits for regular tourists. Describe the scene in your area of Germany

Kabuki: The German scene changed a lot in the past 15 years. There was a huge demand for raves in the late 90s, then the scene collapsed. After that there was a great local scene in every city connecting the entire country, but now that is a thing of the past again. I guess it’s because D&B is so intense, it can wear you down after a while. Due to this many key players dropped out of the scene in Germany, and their vacancies haven’t been filled since. Any special projects coming up in 2012?

Kabuki: I’m starting to work on my follow-up album for V Recordings that I hope to be able to put out in 2012. Also, I plan to set up my own indie-label to put out those tracks that don’t fit in Bryan’s record box. The label will be called “Warrior Soul Music”, and you can expect raw D&B with a lot of soul in the DNA. Any advice to aspiring producers?

Kabuki: It might sound like a cliché but you have to be yourself. While it’s fine to have idols, Calibre is always going to out-calibre you no matter how hard you try. Also, try to not depend on your art to keep the lights on. Eventually this will force you to make decisions you might regret later. Leave your bigups here

Kabuki: Much respect to all those who still consider music as a spiritual artform and not just another form of entertainment. I hope everybody has a great year of the dragon in 2012!

Liquid V Club Sessions Vol 4 Compiled by Kabuki
Label: Liquid V
Release/Catalogue Number: LQCD004
Release Date: Jan 16, 2012

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. Nice interview, just pre-ordered the compilation, which has to be my favorite compilation I’ve heard in ages. Can’t wait to hear what Kabuki’s album has in store for this year.

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